Any time you are working to unite as pastors it is important to clarify beliefs.
Paul instructed Timothy to “guard the deposit” (1 Timothy 6:20). This is still a vital need for church leaders in our day as well.
As the Seattle Area Pastors Network we affirm:
The Apostolic Gospel Proclaimed
We believe and teach that the gospel that was proclaimed by the Apostles can be summarized as follows:
- The gospel is the good news that God is extending grace and forgiveness to all people to reconcile rebels back to Himself.
- This gospel was promised by God beforehand in the Scriptures and was fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God. He is fully man, a descendant of King David, and he is fully God, equal in essence to the Father. He lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father, was murdered on a cross, was buried, and then rose from the dead on the third day.
- Jesus went through all of this willingly, obeying the Father’s plan, as a sacrifice in our place, so that He might bear the wrath of God for our rebellion and deliver us out of this evil day and age.
- Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father, where He reigns as Lord with all authority given to Him by the Father. He will come to earth again as the Savior and Judge of every person who has ever lived, when He will deliver up the kingdom to the Father, having abolished all earthly governments and authority.
- Those who hear the gospel and believe in Jesus to be their righteousness, and not in their own good works, are forgiven of their rebellion to God, given eternal life, adopted into God’s family called the church, made new creations, and sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit. When Jesus comes back, those who believe in Him will get to spend eternity with Him and receive an eternal reward. Those who do not believe in Him will bear His wrath in conscious torment forever. Believing in Jesus is the only way to be reconciled to God.
Rom 1:1-5, 3:21-30; 4:24-25; Gal 1:1-5; 2 Cor 5:17; Eph 1:1-3:23; Col 1:9-10; 1 Tim 3:16; 1 Pet 1:1-5
We believe and teach that there is one God who is eternal, all powerful, all knowing, and perfectly good. He created the universe and is the ultimate authority in it. This one God exists in three distinct and equal Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, and these three Persons have perfect community with each other.
Deut 6:4; Isa 45:21-22; Matt 28:19; John 1:1-3, 8:58; 1 John 1:5; Acts 5:1-5; Rom 8:26-27; 1 Cor 2:10-12; 2 Cor 13:14; Titus 2:13
We believe and teach that the Bible is our ultimate authority and guide for spiritual matters, rather than philosophy, science, or feelings. We believe God gave us the Bible to reveal the essential parts of His nature and the world we live in and to teach us how to have a relationship with Him and love people. God inspired the Bible so it is complete and without error.
2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21; Matt. 4:4; 5:17-18; John 10:35
We believe and teach that the gospel has specific implications for believers. Since Jesus is their Lord, believers are to submit to His authority and obey His commands. Obedience to these commands is not a prerequisite for salvation. Instead, obedience is the fruit of faith in Christ and of believers being made new creations in Christ and having the Holy Spirit at work in them. The implications of the Gospel on living that have been passed on from the Apostles in the Bible can be summarized as follows:
- Believers should lay aside their old life, let the Scriptures shape their thinking instead of the things taught in this day and age, and conform their new life to the will of God. This new life is characterized by a set of virtues summarized as love towards God and people. These virtues can only be obtained through God’s help. (Matt 22:34-40; John 15:5; Rom 12:1-2, Gal 5:22-23; Eph 4:17-23; 1 Pet 1:13-16)
- Believers should be baptized with water to symbolize their new life in Jesus and publicly declare their faith in Him. Believers should regularly partake of the Lord’s Supper to remember Jesus’ sacrifice for them. (Matt 28:19; Luke 22:14-20)
- Believers are to take responsibility for their personal affairs by cultivating their relationship with God, persevering through times of suffering, making the most of the resources God has given them, thankfully enjoying His good gifts without worshiping them, and keeping on the alert for Satan and his strategies in their lives, as they eagerly await the return of Jesus. (Rom 1:21-25; 5:1-5; Eph 5:15-17; Phil 3:8-17; 1 Tim 4:1-5; 1 Pet 5:6-11)
- Families are to be organized according to the plan laid out in the Bible, with husbands and wives, parents and children sacrificially loving each other in their respective roles according to God’s created order. Single believers are to live with undivided devotion to the Lord. (Eph 5:22-6:4; Col 3:18-21; 1 Pet 3:1-7)
- Believers are to form and cultivate relationships with other believers so that they can help each other to walk with Jesus and sacrificially love each other in the ways laid out in the Bible. As fellow members of God’s family, believers are to treat all other believers with humility, kindness and respect, being unified around the gospel. (Rom 12:9-20; 14:1-7; Eph 4:1-6; Titus 2:1-8; Heb 10:24-25)
- Believers should be organized into churches according to the plan laid out in the Bible, with qualified elders to lead, deacons to assist, and each believer serving with the gifts supplied by the Holy Spirit. The purpose of the church is to proclaim and protect the truth that was delivered once and for all through the Apostles in the Bible and to equip the believers in the church so that they can grow in their relationship with God, proclaim the gospel to others and sacrificially love each other. In this way God’s wisdom and grace is put on display to the whole universe through the church as He works to restore and redeem a broken, fallen world. (Acts 6:1-7; Rom 12:3-8; 1 Cor 12:1-31; Eph 3:1-4:16; 1 Tim 2:8-3:16)
- Believers are to love people outside of the church by sharing the gospel with those who don’t know Jesus, adorning the gospel with love and good deeds towards our neighbors and those in need, and respecting government leaders, employers, and other people in authority. Those in positions of authority should treat those under them with justice, remembering that they are still under God’s authority. (Matt 5:3-16; Rom 13:1-7; Eph 6:5-9; Titus 2:9-3:8; 1 Pet 2:9-25; 3:8-17)
- The gospel both affirms and critiques every culture including our own.
- The gospel affirms, what Christians on other continents and at other times have affirmed, that marriage is between one man and one woman.
- The gospel compels us to treat people who have different views and opinions with dignity, respect, love and kindness and in so doing love our neighbor as ourselves.
In addition to these beliefs above we also hold to the Lausanne Covenant.
Drafted in July 1974, by over 2,400 participants from 150 nations gathered in Lausanne, Switzerland, the covenant was part the first International Congress on World Evangelization. TIME magazine described it as ‘a formidable forum, possibly the widest-ranging meeting of Christians ever held’. Speakers included some of the world’s most respected evangelical thinkers of the time: Francis Schaeffer, Ralph Winter, Carl Henry, and John Stott.
Those who attended remember with gratitude God’s presence and favor on those ten days of prayer and planning for global mission, which galvanized the church in three major ways. Out of that gathering the Lausanne Covenant was drafted. As the Seattle Area Pastors Network we affirm the Lausanne Covenant and seek to work together to spread the good news of Jesus to our region of the world.
Here is the link to read The Lausanne Covenant